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D.C.'s LGBT Community Eager For Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

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SLDN's Aaron Tax says Don't Ask, Don't Tell could be repealed by early 2011.
Rebecca Sheir
SLDN's Aaron Tax says Don't Ask, Don't Tell could be repealed by early 2011.

By Rebecca Sheir

The U.S. Senate could start debating legislation this month that would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

But lesbians and gays in Washington are especially eager to see the 17-year-old policy overturned now that same-sex marriage is legal in D.C.

When Chris Farris proposed to his boyfriend, Mike, he offered a ring.

"It has 8 little diamonds, as Chris likes to refer to as glitter!," laughs Mike.

But as a Coast Guard Reservist, Mike knows any so-called homosexual conduct could get him discharged. So last time he went in for mandatory training, he left the ring behind.

"Because I didn't want to have to explain anything," he says. "Its just easier to take it off, leave it at home."

Mike and Chris want to get married next spring. But they're afraid to get a marriage license. And Aaron Tax of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says they aren't alone.

"More people are getting married, creating families," says Tax. "People wanna move on with their lives, and Don't Ask, Don't Tell makes that pretty much impossible."

Tax says the policy could be overturned by early next year. A recent Gallup poll shows 70% of the nation supports repeal.

And that gives Chris Farris hope. Though he jokes perhaps he's actually grateful for the long engagement.

"I would like to thank the military for allowing me the time to think more carefully!," he says with a laugh.

When reminded that he's the one who popped the question, he lets out another laugh and says, "That's a good point. I get reminded of it all the time!"

Any repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell would take effect only after the Pentagon studies how to implement the repeal, and how it could affect the service.

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